A Cross to Bear

This weekend we attended 5 pm pass at St. Francis of Assisi here in Incline. Where we live in Tahoe is dubbed “Income Village” for the amount of wealthy, retired or second-home owners who live here. Meaning, we’re usually the youngest people at mass by about 50 years.

The priest’s homily this week was about the crosses we all have to bear. I love this priest because he always makes a point to have his homily’s be interactive…not just him preaching to us. For this particular one, he asked us all to close our eyes and think of the biggest cross we bear in our lives.

I held my eyes closed tight and thought….

And thought….

And …. um …. I couldn’t think of anything!

In an instant I opened my eyes and looked around at all the older members of the community with their eyes closed and through their body language I could tell that nearly all of them were thinking about something difficult that had happened to them in their lives. I imagined things like deceased spouses, lost relationships with children, debt, illness.

At first I felt relieved that I have been blessed to not have experienced tragedy in my life. My loved ones are happy and healthy. My financial situation is good. I live a life I truly enjoy every day.

But that relief slowly started to evolve into fear and last night (three days after mass), my anxiety hit hard. I couldn’t help having an overwhelming feeling that all my happiness is just temporary and some great tragedy is lurking somewhere in my future ready to change my life forever. That years from now I’ll look back on all my happy blog posts from this time in my life and think “if I had only known.”

I tried to console myself by remembering what the priest said after we all reflected on our crosses … that to truly know Christ, we have to know suffering. But to be honest, I don’t want to go through something like losing someone I love or getting sick or being unhappy.

And even worse, I hate that I feel like suffering is going to be an inevitable part of my life. It’s like it’s a big, scary, nasty question mark just looming out there waiting to ruin everything.

It makes me wonder … is it possible to live a life of happiness and avoid heartbreak? Or are we all destined to experience tragedy?

And if so, is there any way to prepare myself for what may happen?

(Sorry for the depressing post. I just can’t stop thinking about this…)